I can still hear Joey’s voice from the sitcom Friends. “So how YOU doin’?” he would ask, and give a little smile as he checked out the gal.

If you read my recent post, “Olympic Geek,” then you know I have started this year with an increased commitment to my own writing as I continue to support others with their own writing goals.

What I am grateful for today is that before I began showing up, I put a tracking system into place with structures to monitor my progress. I did this mostly so that when someone asks, or when I begin to wonder how I AM doing, I have some quantifiable evidence that goes beyond my own internal yammering.

This week was a doozy. I attended two late night meetings, and finessed a major family-related interruption to my usual work schedule. In my tired state, I dumped junk food into my tired engine for more than one meal, as if that would help me feel better. It did not.

By Friday morning, I barely made it out of bed for my morning run. I did not show up for my early morning writing session. On Saturday, I made up excuses and did other ‘important’ things in the wee hours of the morn. You know, things that would make a difference in my life, like procrastinating on a proposal, watching Rachel Maddow interview Jon Stewart, and checking my email.

When I stumbled to my desk this morning, I imagined Joey showing up, winking at me, and asking, “So how YOU doin’?” No flipping idea, Joey. I haven’t shown up for two days. I don’t know what I was writing about when I left, nor what I’m supposed to be writing about today. I’m not even sure that this whole goal was really that good of an idea, you know? So go flirt with someone else. 

Joey, always a sweet guy, stuck around and stayed interested. How WAS I doin’? I was pretty sure I had broken the chain (structure #1) in the application I have on my phone called WriteChain. It is a free little thing that allows me to set my goal, and track my progress. My goal is 500 words a day, skipping no more than one day in between consecutive writing sessions. If I show up, put in the number of words I write, I get a chain in my link. Don’t laugh. We are simple creatures by design, and yes, I will show up to get a virtual link in a chain. In fact, I had earned ten beautiful links in my chain during the past couple weeks of writing. Today I was starting again with one link in a new chain. So noted.

Then I opened up my editorial calendar (structure #2) and reviewed the pending topics. Oh, look! I do have something I want to say, and I do have something worth writing. I also caught up on my tracking system there. I had forgotten to record the topic I drafted on Thursday. Once I added that to the spreadsheet, things were a little clearer. Look at that! I only missed Friday and Saturday. Not the end of the world, girl. Pick up where you left off.

Finally, I thought of the chat I had last night with my blog editor. She was making sure that I understood all the edits she had sent, and was calling to ask if I needed anything else before I posted the new blog on Sunday.

Right-o. Our editing and publication schedule (structure #3) is larger than just me. Other people know about it and are working to ensure we get the job done. That is pretty much the one that saves my tail every time. For most of us, accountability to another living, breathing soul that cares enough to ask, “How YOU doin’?” makes all the difference.

Hey, Joey, I’m doing just fine. I just wrote 717 words and am posting the edited blog this afternoon. Thanks for asking.

So, how YOU doin’?